Times are hard and people seem to be under a great deal of pressure these days. Whether you are busy looking for work or simply straining to keep your current job, it can be quite easy to become stressed out! As many of you know, I have been pulling crazy hours at my day job while working on a couple of side businesses at night and on the weekends. All things considered, I’ve been putting in 70 to 80 hours of work every week for the last 3 months. And while I’m grateful for the work, and I’m definitely happy to get some extra money for my efforts, the long hours have taken a heavy toll on me.
I’ve noticed that it’s much easier to get sick when stressed out. Being under pressure also makes it harder to have a good time, even when I do have the extra half-day to spare. Now if you are unemployed, the pressure is even worse, since that stressful feeling might be mixed in with feelings of depression, anger, and helplessness. No matter how you look at it, it’s a good idea to have as little stress in your life as humanly possible. Being relaxed can help a person put things into perspective. Being in a positive mental state can ultimately help you find working solutions to deal with your pressing concerns. And finding SOLUTIONS is what true prepping is all about. No amount of whining or fear-mongering can substitute for the hard work necessary to get yourself and your family onto a solid economic footing in these tough times, and being less stressed can help you do just that.
Now there are many ways to relax, and some of them can be quite expensive. Years ago, before I learned the joys of frugal living, I reduced my stress levels with cigarettes and pricey vacations. Nowadays, I’ve found much healthier and less expensive ways of achieving the same goal. So here is my list of FREE things to do to relieve stress:
1. Meditation Podcasts
This is one of the best ways of relieving stress that I’ve experienced so far. When you listen to most forms of guided meditation, your mind quickly drops out of it’s normal routine and enters this trance-like state. In this state, you can calmly reflect on the minutiae of everyday life. It’s all very dream-like, and in fact, a lot of times, I would simply doze off after listening to a meditation podcast for awhile. By far the best free Meditation Podcast that I’ve come across is Meditation Oasis, the lady who creates these podcast episodes really know what she’s doing.
2. Go jogging or hiking in a Park
A good jogging session can put you into a “runner’s high”. Really, you feel like you’re getting high after the end of a long run and it’s pretty awesome! In any case, doing this activity automatically relieves stress while giving your body a good workout at the same time. And best of all, it’s completely free!
3. De-clutter your House
This might sound counter-intuitive, but in many ways we are slaves to our material possessions. A lot of stuff laying around our homes serve no real purposes at all. Yet we have to spend massive amount of energy and time maintaining that plastic crap. So, if we simply got rid of the clutter (yard sale, Ebay, donations to charity), our minds will have less stuff to worry about, thus reducing our overall levels of stress. Now, I’m not saying everyone should do all of it at once, but de-cluttering 1 room a week is really a good mental and spiritual exercise. You identify those objects which actually have value to you. And you discard the stuff that is mere junk. One site that I routinely go to for de-cluttering tips is TheMinimalists.com, they seem to have tips on simplifying every aspect of one’s life.
4. Go to free local events
There are usually some kind of free event to go to no matter where you live. These kinds of events can range from simple meetups to outdoor movies. Either way, it’s free entertainment that gets you to go outside and socialize. And that really helps a person let off steam sometimes. One place where you can go to find free events would be your local library or bookstore. People usually put up posters of upcoming events on the doors. Meetup.com is also another great resource to find fun things to do with other people in your area.
5. Video chat with friends
Good conversations with good friends can do wonders for a person’s mood. Nowadays since the cost of gas is getting so high, meeting up with friends in person is becoming harder and harder to do. So instead we can use Video Chat software such as Skype or Google Chat or Facebook to have a video conversation with your buddies!
6. Watch funny videos
Humor is a great way to forget about your worries. Having laughter in a person’s life is proven to have a positive effect on health and can extend longevity. And there is an amazingly free source of humorous videos to watch, it’s called YouTube!
7. Read free ebooks and magazines
Reading can transport you to another world, another time, and maybe even another life. It provides a great way to escape your cares for a couple of hours every day. But books and magazines can cost a bundle of money to get. So do yourself a favor and get free ebooks and magazines from the internet. You can usually read these ebooks on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Sites like Smashwords, Scribed, and Munseys have hundreds of thousands of free ebooks to download and enjoy. If you are into the latest titles, check out Amazon’s Ebook Lending Program. And apps like Flipboard is a great free alternative to expensive magazine subscriptions.
8. Listen to calm, soothing, ambient music
This method works wonders for me. A really ambient tune can help a person chillax in no time. So where does one go to get tons of high quality relaxing music? Well, if you are into Radio Station like experiences, you can try Pandora. It’s basically a free radio that “guesses” the music you like to hear based on your past selections. If you are into hearing entire albums by the same artist or group, you can try Spotify. This free service is so good that I can’t believe it hasn’t been outlawed by the government yet!!!
9. Play a video game!
Video games are AWESOME ways to escape reality and simply forget about our cares for a little bit. There are tons of free high-quality video games out there for almost any electronic device that you own. My personal favorite at the moment is this massive first person shooter game called Assault Cube! Now I do have one complaint about this form of stress relief, it can get REALLY ADDICTIVE and waste tremendous amounts of time. Because I need my time to build side businesses and provide my family with a better life, I tend to highly regulate the amount of time spent playing games. As a general rule, I only play casual games that can be started and finished within 5 minutes. That way it’s easier for me to put the game away when I’m done with relaxing and have to get back to work!
10. Just do it!
Seriously, if you have a loving spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend, this is one of the easiest and cheapest way of getting rid of stress. And on top of it all, sex is a bonding activity which tends to improve relationships over time!
So these are the methods that I’m using to de-stress myself. If you have other free methods in mind, do let us know by leaving a comment!